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Blasphemy Laws On the Way in Russia?

In the wake of the Pussy Riot scandal, some Russian lawmakers are pushing for even broader laws to prevent people from offending the delicate sensibilities of religious believers (meaning, in this case, Russian Orthodox Christian believers only, I suspect).

The declaration has no binding force but sets the tone for legislation that Yaroslav Nilov, head of the Duma committee on civic and religious groups, said would be presented to parliament as early as this week.

Nilov said a proposed amendment would introduce criminal responsibility for offences against religious beliefs and feelings and impose a jail term of up to three years.

Critics said such laws would blur the line between the state and the Russian Orthodox Church and called the move part of a crackdown on dissent under Putin, who began a six-year presidential term in May.

Putin, in recent comments on Pussy Riot, the global protests over the video “The Innocence of Muslims” and the killings of Islamic leaders in Russia, has said that extremists were trying to tear Russia apart and that the feelings of the faithful must be protected by the state.

This is no surprise. It’s been obvious for a long time that Putin is a power-hungry wannabe dictator.

Comments

  1. says

    Let us see how Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) himself responded to such blasphemy:
    Once Prophet Mohammad was sitting with his followers that Aboo Jehel (a bitter opponent) came and yelled “O Mohammad, you are the ugliest person, ever born in our tribe” This was quite untrue, but still Prophet Mohammad smiled and said “You are right, Aboo Jehel”. Upon this, Prophet’s close companion, Aboo Bakker reacted, and said “O my beloved Prophet Mohammad, you are the most handsome person, not only in the tribe of Quraish, but among whole Arabia.” Again Prophet Mohammad smiled and said, “You are right, Aboo Bakker.” Indeed, this surprised everybody and one companion eventually asked “How come, these contradictory statements can be right, at the same time.” This time, the ever-smiling Prophet gave even a broader smile and said, “I am (like) a mirror, those who look at me (to judge/examine me), see their own faces, in me.”

    I’m sick and tired of the awful stereotype people have against Muslims. The religion is actually a very loving and peaceful religion, but just like many other world religions, it becomes tainted by extremes and radicals (A very small group) that get all of the attention.
    More people need to see that Muslims are no different than the rest of us. They seek love, friendship, and education. They want the next iPhone. They love their country. And they love their God. People really need to learn to understand something before they ignorantly attack it with unjustified and hateful words.

    West seems to forget where Judaism, Christianity, and Islam started! Also West overlooks the fact that synagogues and churches have been all over the Middle East for centuries and islamic tolerance is what kept them there all this time! How about the Pope visiting Lebanon, isn’t it a sign of tolerance? How about the crusades, is it 13th of them, are they sign of tolerance? Is is tolerance when Americans call arabs ahabs (you should know what it refers to? Please some see their faults and Americans never want to admit theirs. No way Islam’s going anywhere. Learn to LOVE, EMBRACE, and LIVE with ISLAM. Or, KEEP facing the CONSEQUENCES. Did not contribute????? Renaissance of Europe, was is just a toss of dice? Is Algebra from Mars? Algorithm from Jupiter and arabic numerals from the moon? How about the foundations of western medicine by Ibn Sina, was he from California? And how about the names of many stars in arabic when America was only indians. I will not go on listing … you can check the facts and history yourself Daniel!!!!
    Btw we were not the ones who drove Jesus to the cross! and don’t forget Syria where St Simon built his church there! I can go on and on…
    IA
    http://www.londonschoolofislami.sog.uk

  2. criticaldragon1177 says

    Ed Brayton,

    Another case of people wanted to pass laws to stop something just because they find it offensive. Great… >:(

  3. laurentweppe says

    Soooo, if Pussy Riot ended up in jail for saying “Mother Mary, please rid us of Putin” because it offended the sensibilities of the pious belivers (and not at all the ego of the oligarchy in charge of the country, no siree), will they put in prison every kid who ever said “Please God, make my parents buy me a bicycle for m birthday” or “Please God, make the math teacher sick tomorow so we don’t have a test”?

  4. davidhart says

    iftikharahmad @1: I think you may be on the wrong thread here, since your comment seems to have nothing to do with the post, but since you are here, I should note a couple of points:

    “More people need to see that Muslims are no different than the rest of us. They seek love, friendship, and education. They want the next iPhone. They love their country. And they love their God”

    Seeking love, friendship and education, wanting the next iPhone and loving their country are areas where Muslims are indeed, on average, not noticeably different from the rest of us. Loving their god, however, is. Muslims are absolutely unlike atheists in that regard, since it is impossible to love (or, for that matter, hate) something unless you believe it actually exists. And they are to a lesser degree different from members of other religions too, since the god of Islam is a little different from the god of Judaism, quite a bit different from the god(s) of Christianity, and very different from the gods of Hinduism, to name just a few. Now obviously none of these religions is a monolith, but to the degree that Islam has failed to marginalise the violent tendencies of its adherents who use Islamic scripture and tradition to justify jihad and murder, the degree to which some Muslims love their god really is a problem that needs to be addressed. I put it to you that if all Muslims stopped loving their god (by virtue of ceasing to believe in it), the majority peaceful and cooperative Muslims would by and large continue to be peaceful and cooperative, but the violent extremists would lose a large portion of their ideological justification for violent extremism, thus leading to less violence overall.

    Also, you say “Learn to LOVE, EMBRACE, and LIVE with ISLAM. Or, KEEP facing the CONSEQUENCES.”

    Firstly, please stop shouting. You can use italics if you use the ‘i’ HTML tag. And secondly, I’ve got to tell you, for someone who claims that Islam “is actually a very loving and peaceful religion”, your talk of “consequences” sounds very much like a threat. You do realise, I hope, that you can’t have it both ways?

  5. says

    I’m sick and tired of the awful stereotype people have against Muslims. The religion is actually a very loving and peaceful religion, but just like many other world religions, it becomes tainted by extremes and radicals (A very small group) that get all of the attention.

    I have sympathy for that argument … people should be judged for what they do and not what they believe. But how do you reconcile that with blasphemy laws in Pakistan and elsewhere that would put people to death for not believing the same as the majority?

    More people need to see that Muslims are no different than the rest of us. They seek love, friendship, and education. They want the next iPhone. They love their country. And they love their God. People really need to learn to understand something before they ignorantly attack it with unjustified and hateful words.

    Words do not hurt people … they may hurt their feelings but feelings are not people. Killing people because they hurt your feelings is not only unjustified, it calls into question your right to claim civilized consideration for your beliefs.

  6. matty1 says

    iftikharahmad

    I can go on and on…

    I think we all agree on that point, maybe fewer words and clearer focus would help you get your point across better.

  7. Loqi says

    Learn to LOVE, EMBRACE, and LIVE with ISLAM. Or, KEEP facing the CONSEQUENCES.

    Yeah, that sounds peaceful alright. Embrace Islam or die!

  8. matty1 says

    At the risk of further thread derailing, what is Mr Ahmads the London School of Islamics? His own link, if you correct it claims that this School is run by the London School of Islamics Trust but that organisation ceased to exist
    in 1991 so what is going on?

  9. =8)-DX says

    Um, Ed.. “Wannabe”?

    The point with having absolute political power is you have absolute political power. It’s called dictatorship.

  10. says

    The religion is actually a very loving and peaceful religion, but just like many other world religions, it becomes tainted by extremes and radicals (A very small group) that get all of the attention.

    Yes, and no. I agree that Islamic extremists are not representative of the views and aspirations of the vast majority of the world’s Muslim population, however, there are still some serious problems that are endemic in the Muslim world.

    First, its oppression of women. While again, the extremist Muslim view is worse than the norm, there are still far too many places in the Muslim where women are not allowed to speak out or lead independent lives under pain of severe punishment. That has to change.

    Second, even in secular nations, like the UK, former Muslims live in fear of retribution (often physical in nature) for their apostasy. At best, they are cut off from their friends and family, but it is often much worse than that, having to deal with threats and persecution from those they have left behind. Of course, in Muslim majority nations, they are often subject to arrest and imprisonment.

    So while I agree that Christianity has had pretty much the same problems as Islam does today, they have, for the most part, been stamped out. That cannot be said to be true in most parts of the Muslim world. So until respect for the rights of women and of those who choose to leave the Muslim faith is the norm in the Islamic world, it’s tough to argue that Islam is no worse than most other religions.

  11. No One says

    Learn to LOVE, EMBRACE, and LIVE with ISLAM. Or, KEEP facing the CONSEQUENCES.

    This is familiar. Let me guess… Anthony from the “It’s a good life” Twilight episode. When he says “I hate everybody who doesn’t love me”.

    That’s it right?

  12. Sastra says

    iftikharahmad #1 wrote:

    I’m sick and tired of the awful stereotype people have against Muslims. The religion is actually a very loving and peaceful religion, but just like many other world religions, it becomes tainted by extremes and radicals (A very small group) that get all of the attention.

    You do realize that we’re all objecting to the extreme, radical proposal to establish blasphemy laws, right?

    If you are instead arguing in favor of blasphemy laws — on the supposition that most Muslims are no threat to freedom — then you DO fit the stereotype, because your views do threaten freedom. You are part of the problem, not a counterpoint against it.

    That said, I’m very dismayed by how many otherwise intelligent, liberal U.S. acquaintances of mine seem to be framing the blasphemy law issue as one of promoting kindness and good manners among neighbors. It’s as if they want government — all governments — to become Mommy, using the force of the State to help ensure that nobody leaves the birthday party crying. The larger issues of freedom of speech and open criticism keep turning into little homilies on the importance of being nice and having consideration for other people’s feelings.

    Apparently the subject of religion immediately evokes images of childlike innocence and vulnerability needing protection. The Russian Orthodox Church is two years old.

  13. Trebuchet says

    @#8, busterggi:

    Just what was the point of the Russian revolution, one brand of dictatorship replaced with another?

    That, unfortunately, is more often than not the result of revolutions. The Russians did it once in 1917, and again in 1991. See also Cuba in 1960, China in 1945, and any number of others.

  14. iangould says

    “Yes, and no. I agree that Islamic extremists are not representative of the views and aspirations of the vast majority of the world’s Muslim population, however, there are still some serious problems that are endemic in the Muslim world.’

    Endemic:

    1. natural to or characteristic of a specific people or place; native; indigenous: endemic folkways; countries where high unemployment is endemic.
    2.
    belonging exclusively or confined to a particular place: a fever endemic to the tropics.

    Sadly, none of the things you describe are “endemic” to the Muslim world.

    Just ask the families of the Indian Hindus murdered for converting to Christianity of Islam.

    Or the families of South American women whose murderers were acquitted on the grounds of “legitimate defense of honor”.

    “So while I agree that Christianity has had pretty much the same problems as Islam does today, they have, for the most part, been stamped out. ”

    So, George W bush didn’t say that he invaded Iraq because God told him too and he wasn’t subsequently re-elected with an increased majority? (Well, A majority.)

  15. tbp1 says

    The government doesn’t exist to protect people from having their widdle fee-fees hurt, and religious fee-fees don’t warrant special consideration just because they are religious.

    With VERY narrow exceptions for direct theats, incitement to violence, slander and libel, I hold free speech sacred: people are perfectly free to mock everything I beleve in and stand for, in the vilest possible terms. I may respond in kind, but I will never ask the government to shut them up just because I don’t like what they are saying.

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